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by World Music Network October 25, 2013


Out Now: The Rough Guide To Bollywood For Children

The Rough Guide To Bollywood For Children
(Digital Only)

The new digital only album is available from the WMN store now or as part of a subscription.

The Rough Guide To Bollywood For Children

Enliven your children’s minds with Asha Bhosle’s soothing singing, Laxmikant-Pyarelal’s playful melodies and Mohammed Rafi’s raucous riffs. Soundtrack playtimes, bedtimes and mealtimes with the contagious sounds of beautiful India and don’t be surprised if you find yourself dancing round the kitchen too.

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Whether it’s a natty nursery rhyme, a soothing lullaby or a fantastically nonsensical tongue-twister, children the world over are natural (and often overlooked) transmitters of folk music. Songs are sponged up by the young agile mind, stored in musical memory banks to be joyfully recanted on the playground, in the classroom or for a bedtime sing-a-long with their parents. So of course Bollywood, the much-loved film genre that explores and unpicks every brilliant quirk and foible of Indian society, takes on the nursery rhyme with typical abandon and excellently eccentric results.

Reflective of India’s long-standing, often chequered, relationship with the British Isles many of the tracks on this Rough Guide rework well-known English verse. The album opens with Anu Malik’s version of a song about everyone’s favourite anthropomorphic egg, ‘Humpty Dumpty’. A few tracks in the ‘Nightingale of India’ Asha Bhosle and the playback singer Mahendra Kapoor are heard mixing up ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’. In this version, taken from the film Purab Aur Pachhim, the lead male Bharat is heard trying to convince wayward westernized Preeti to unshackle herself from her Abba-esque red mini-dress and engage with traditional Indian culture.  In a kind of musical face off the two riff nursery rhymes in opposing western and then Indian styles. Preeti’s momentary medley of ‘She’ll Be Coming Round The Mountain’ and ‘Jack and Jill’ is accompanied by a naff-looking two-step dance move, while Bharat’s stylish reply sees him slapping his knees, using them as imaginary thumping  tabla and adopting a heavily melismatic Indian vocal style. Closing track ‘Happy Birthday To You’ is an unusual take on the infamous well-wishing ditty. The song’s minor key, chorus of children, interluding jazz ensemble and marching band make for an unconventional version indeed. 

Other songs skip along with catchy melodies, allowing children’s voices, or more accurately the voices of youthful sounding playback singers, to take the lead. ‘Lakdi  Ki Kathi’ from the 1983 film Masoom is a sweet song featuring three young siblings; Pinky, Minni and Rahul. One of the young girls is played by the actress Urmila Matondkar who is now all grown-up and a well-respected Indian film star to boot. ‘General Sahab Karo Tayari’ is taken from Hum and is a happy number featuring the child character Jyoti with her adult accomplices. The music is composed by the great composer duo Laxmikant-Pyarelal and riifs on a military-style theme. ‘Akkad Bakkad Bambe Bo’ is a light-hearted exchange between a child and older gentleman who are seen in the film playfully whiling the time away in a palatial garden setting. ‘Dadi Amma Dadi Amma Maan Jao’ is a deliciously vintage number taken from the black-and-white 1961 box office hit Gharana.

Enliven your children’s mind with diverse deep-Bollywood style heard on this handpicked compilation. Soundtrack playtimes, bedtimes and mealtimes with the contagious sounds of beautiful India and don’t be surprised if you find yourself dancing round the kitchen too. This Rough Guide presents a lovingly hand-picked collection of unique songs suitable for all creatures ... great and small!